Locked up for trying to take his own life, in a country where suicide is still a crime – CNN

After weeks of being hungry and jobless, the 25-year old says he reached breaking point after a security guard pushed him to the ground while he was searching for work at a building site.
“I was tired of walking around that day. And I was determined to work there… so I tried to force my way in, then he pushed me, and I fell down flat on the floor,” Ugokwe told CNN.
“I started begging him because I was tired, I really needed that job because I needed to eat.”
Humiliated, Ugokwe went to a nearby lagoon and jumped in.
After being rescued by passing fishermen, Ugokwe says he was handed over to police officers who arrested him and put him in jail.
Attempting suicide is a criminal offense in Nigeria, under Section 327 of the Criminal Code Act, and carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. A holdover from when Nigeria was a British colony, the law was abolished in Britain under the Suicide Act of 1961, which happened after Nigeria gained its independence in 1960.
Ugokwe says he’s speaking out about his attempt to take his own life despite stigma around the subject in Nigeria because he doesn’t want people to suffer as he did.
When he woke up on the fisherman’s boat, Ugokwe says he was angry that his attempt had failed.
Following his arrest, Ugokwe was held at a cell near the Lagos lagoon, in the country’s economic capital, before being transferred one week later to another cell on the Lagos mainland.
Ugokwe says he was unaware that attempted suicide was a crime in Nigeria.
“When they put me in the cell, the first thing that came to my mind was what did I do? I didn’t kill anybody. I did not steal. What am I doing here? What did I do wrong? It’s my life, not (the) government’s life,” he said.
Shortly after his arrest in February, Ugokwe appeared before a magistrate to determine whether he had committed an offense. His case was postponed and he was transferred to another facility on Lagos Island.
It was there he met Imanuella Ojeah, a criminal lawyer and a member of the Elevation Church in Lagos, whose volunteer prison unit makes weekly trips to local prisons.
“I remember he seemed tired of life. He begged me to get him out of that place. He told me… I am not mad. I am just depressed and don’t have money to eat,” Ojeah told CNN.
Ojeah and her team represented Ugokwe at his next court appearance at Sabo Magistrates Court, a few weeks later, in April 2017. They were asked if someone was willing to act as a guarantor for Ugokwe and look after his welfare if he were released.
Ojeah found someone from the Elevation Church who agreed to look after Ugokwe and the magistrate dismissed the case.
Although Ugokwe found freedom, the legal process around these types of cases is lengthy and complicated for people suffering from serious mental health issues, says health law expert Cheluchi Onyemelukwe who is campaigning to abolish the suicide law in the country.
“What happens in the legal process is the police arrest you, put you in a cell, and then charge the matter to court and you are arraigned before a magistrate who determines whether it appears an offense has been committed,” she says.
As in Ugokwe’s case, the survivor is then remanded to jail to wait for a trial date. If found guilty, they may be imprisoned for a maximum of one year.
Although jail terms for suicide survivors are rare, Onyemelukwe says it is the process of arresting and taking them through a legal process that is particularly cruel.
Death rate for suicide per 100,000 people in Africa in 2016Death rate for suicide per 100,000 people in Africa in 2016
“I believe it doesn’t reflect who we are as Nigerians… it is inhumane and I know that we can do better than that. I think it is probably the worst possible thing that you could do to somebody who finds themselves in that sort of situation,” she said.
“People who are thrown into a cell right after… wonder why the suicide wasn’t successful. It makes people that I have spoken to feel helpless and feel like there really isn’t a reason to go on.”
Ugokwe says he contemplated suicide again while in jail because of the conditions he was held in.
“The worst part of it was not just that they put me in prison, it was that they locked me in a cell with crazy people. I was with mentally disturbed people. Most of the people there were talking to themselves and jumping around.”
In jail, Ugokwe says he and other inmates were forced to take pills.
“At first, when they brought the pills to me, I refused… there was nothing wrong with me, but then I was beaten and forced to take the pills.
“Those pills had terrible effects on me… all I want to do is sleep and eat.”
A spokesman for the Lagos division of the Nigerian Prisons Service, which operates prisons in the country, denied Ugokwe’s allegations.
“Allegations and incidents of force-feeding, beating and or forceful admission of medication on inmates are false and do not occur in any prison within the Lagos Command,” Rotimi Oladokun told CNN in an emailed statement.
“The Controller of Prisons, Lagos Command has no tolerance for such excesses and will not condone such under his command,” he added.
The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem told CNN that although attempted suicide is criminalized in the country, the state does not recommend that anyone should be locked up.
Suicide rates are usually underreported in Nigeria because of the stigma associated with it. However, the World Health Organization estimates that there are 9.5 suicides per every 100,000 people in the country.
African countries where suicide is illegalAfrican countries where suicide is illegal
Some common causes are depression and anxiety linked to high levels of poverty.
A 2017 WHO report found that Nigerians have the highest incidences of depression in Africa, with around 7,079,815 suffering from depression, a figure that represents 3.9% of the population.
In 2015, Lagos State amended its law to recommend hospital treatment for those who have attempted suicide.
But the law has yet to be changed at a national level and is not currently being considered for review, according to health law expert Onyemelukwe.
“We are guided by what the law says,” Kazeem says. “But in the hierarchy of offenses, this is a simple offense, and the recommended action is hospitalization.
“The law does not say anyone should be incarcerated. Attempted suicide is not a crime. It shows some form of disorder which needs medical attention.”
Kazeem added: “My office has not prosecuted anyone. The state government does not prosecute attempted suicide victims. We are not aware of any prosecutions, if it was brought to my attention, we would advise against it.”
Kazeem said police officers do have prosecutorial powers in Lagos State and he could not speak to whether such a trial went ahead in Ugokwe’s case.
However, Kazeem acknowledged that more training was needed for police officers.
“We are going to do that education process. They are doing the wrong thing if they lock up victims,” he said.
CNN made several requests for a comment from the Lagos State Police Commissioner but did not receive one.
There are frequent reports in local media of survivors being arrested and tried for attempting suicide.
In July this year, a 27-year-old man was charged in court with attempting suicide in June.
Other African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Gambia, and South Sudan also outlaw suicide.
Onyemelukwe says the suicide law, a legacy of the colonial era, has no place in Nigeria today.
“I want Nigerians to see real people who have attempted suicide and have survived and realize that these are people who could be our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers.
“Attempted suicide in itself is a risk factor for contemplating suicide. In fact, it is the predictor of the fact that somebody will commit suicide. We are in a place where all of these laws deserve a second, a third, a fourth look until we change it,” she added.
She believes police need to be given the power to refer survivors for treatment rather than arrested and put through the legal system.
“The person doesn’t have to spend any time in prison,” she says.
Life has started to get better for Ugokwe in recent months. He’s found friends he can call on when he’s feeling sad but he’s still trying to get back on his feet.
Thinking back on his time in jail, Ugokwe says he wouldn’t want anyone to go through what he experienced.
“No one deserves that,” he said.
“At that time, I needed love. I didn’t need to be put in prison and punished for something I don’t even understand.”

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Las Vegas lawyer Alexis Plunkett accused of threat to kill ex-lover – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Las Vegas defense attorney Alexis Plunkett threatened to have her former boyfriend killed behind bars, prosecutors said in court papers filed Friday urging a judge to revoke her bail.

The latest allegations further complicate Plunkett’s legal troubles, as she already faces a renewed case of providing cell phones to jailed inmates, including the former boyfriend.

In a September group text with five other attorneys, prosecutors said, Plunkett made an obscenity-laced threat against 28-year-old Andrew Arevalo, a reputed gang member with whom she was romantically involved. A screenshot of the exchange was included in the 18-page bail revocation motion.

“I’ve placed hits in every Nevada prison on Andrew with every homie and lifer I know,” Plunkett wrote, “this POS will never survive in prison now, he’s f——- with the wrong b——-. I AM NOT THE ONE. I represent ALL the surenos and he’s gonna GET IT. Delete this.”

Prosecutors have not filed charges in connection with the alleged threat.

‘I’ll take care of business first’

When another person in the group replied that Plunkett should not speak loosely about committing a felony, Plunkett responded: “I’m not joking. That’s why I said to delete it. He said he was gonna have me murdered so I’ll take care of business first.”

A Metro investigator spoke with Plunkett about the threat, according to the document, and she told him she was “venting.”

Her attorneys, Michael Becker and Adam Solinger, read the prosecution’s filing after being contacted by a Review-Journal reporter.

“The comment was made at a time when she was very upset,” Becker said. “And I would describe it as mere hyperbole. There’s a backstory I’m not at liberty to discuss, and I don’t want to litigate this case in the press.”

As recently as February, Plunkett and Arevalo were together as he graduated from a program known as Hope for Prisoners, a nonprofit organization that partners with law enforcement agencies across the state to give current and former inmates a chance to return as productive members of society.

But Arevalo, who in 2014 was shot and wounded by a Nevada High Desert State Prison guard, has since been jailed and is awaiting trial on numerous felony charges.

Plunkett represented Arevalo in his lawsuit against the Nevada Department of Corrections in connection with the shooting that left another man dead.

On Friday evening, Plunkett responded to the allegations in emails to Review-Journal.

“I still talk to Andrew Arevalo every day and will always support him, despite a concentrated campaign against us. The allegations against me are twisted, unfounded, and disturbing,” she wrote. “Put all that on the record—including that I will ALWAYS support Andrew and it’s a sick technique to use our personal relationship against us in a criminal context.”

‘Tremendously stressful situation’

“This situation has caused a tremendous amount of stress for her and also for their relationship,” Becker said. “She’s been dealing with this tremendously stressful situation for more than a year now, and it’s taken its toll, clearly.”

In her emailed response, Plunkett wrote: “This is clearly a joke, right? This is a string of ‘occurrences’ supported by little to no evidence for which any other attorney would not be judged. It boils my blood as someone who upholds and supports the law and civil rights on a daily basis.”

Last month, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of a 14-count indictment against Plunkett, who prosecutors said improperly provided a cellphone to inmates at the Clark County Detention Center. Plunkett has said she was in a relationship with Arevalo, who also was indicted, and that she used the cellphone to make calls regarding bail, which she believed she was authorized to do.

In Friday’s filing, prosecutors called Plunkett a danger to the community and pointed to an October arrest in North Las Vegas, where she was in the home of a man wanted on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping. Plunkett told police the man was her client.

Prosecutor Jay P. Raman also pointed to reports from court marshals that stated Plunkett was “observed acting in an odd manner” and “exhibited suspicious behavior” while interacting with in-custody criminal defendants, including one man with 44 felony convictions and another who was not her own client, whose neck she rubbed in court.

Becker called the courtroom interactions “much ado about nothing,” but the prosecutor argued that the actions were a sign of something more serious.

“Plunkett is acting in a way that is outside the scope of being a criminal defense attorney, and more as a dangerous gang affiliate,” Raman wrote. The threat of solicitation or conspiracy to commit murder is one which must not be taken lightly.”

Arevalo, meanwhile, is again behind bars at the Clark County Detention Center, where he is being held without bail, after prosecutors said he did not charge a house arrest ankle monitor and tested positive for methamphetamine.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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Prosecutor accuses DOJ of blocking investigation into death of student shot 59 times – NBCNews.com

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Dec. 28, 2018 / 9:33 PM GMT

By Associated Press

ATLANTA — A Georgia prosecutor is suing the U.S. Department of Justice over its refusal to provide information about how officers shot 59 bullets into a schizophrenic college student.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Friday that federal authorities have blocked his prosecutors from interviewing the officers who killed Jamarion Robinson, 26.

Howard said the federal agency has also stymied his investigation of the 2016 killing by refusing to turn over any documents, despite numerous requests during the past two years under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” he said of the lawsuit. “Our hope was that the federal authorities would cooperate and provide this office and this family with all the information about this incident. I cannot understand why they have not done it.”

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard at a press conference on the killing of Jamarion Robinson on Dec. 28, 2018.Jeff Martin / AP

Robinson’s mother, Monteria Robinson, accompanied Howard when he announced the lawsuit.

“My son deserves the truth,” she said.

Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Page Pate, who isn’t involved in the case but has handled numerous others involving the federal government, said the standoff between local and federal law enforcers “is extraordinarily unusual.”

“They stonewall plaintiffs all the time, but it is unusual for them to stonewall a district attorney who is investigating a possible crime. … They generally cooperate when it comes to investigating serious crimes,” Pate said.

Robinson died in a hail of gunfire after a fugitive task force armed with weapons that included submachine guns broke down the door in the Atlanta suburb of East Point, Georgia, in August 2016, and fired more than 90 rounds “into or inside” the apartment, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the Department of Justice has “steadfastly blocked” Howard’s office from investigating and that federal officials failed to return many calls from his office.

“It has now been 875 days since the officers killed Mr. Robinson, and the DOJ has yet to provide any of the documents or evidence requested and has failed to provide any investigative reports relating to Mr. Robinson’s death,” the lawsuit states.

Witnesses and videos have indicated that officers gave numerous verbal commands for Robinson to put down a weapon, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement the day after the shooting. The GBI investigates many shootings by police across the state, as it did Robinson’s death.

A handgun found at the scene was “believed to be associated with Robinson,” the GBI said at the time.

The lawsuit also alleges that while officers claimed Mr. Robinson fired at them three times with a gun found later in his apartment, “when the firearm was recovered, it was damaged and inoperable.”

East Point police have said Robinson was suspected of shooting at Atlanta officers earlier that summer, and members of the task force had gone to the apartment to arrest him.

The Department of Justice did not immediately return a request for comment Friday. Its Office of Public Affairs said in an email that due to the partial government shutdown, messages “may not be returned until funding is restored.”

Robinson, who studied biology, had played football at Clark Atlanta University and had been transferring to Tuskegee University in Alabama shortly before he was killed. He’d recently been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, the prosecutor’s lawsuit states. Except for a traffic violation, he had no criminal convictions, according to the lawsuit.

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Scoop: Coming Up on a New Episode of CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS – Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – Broadway World

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Scoop: Coming Up on a New Episode of CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS - Wednesday, January 9, 2019

“Hamelin” – Prentiss and The BAU team fly to Iowa to investigate the disappearance of three 10-year-old children who appear to have been abducted from their homes in the middle of the night, with surveillance video from a neighborhood park as their only lead to finding the children’s whereabouts, on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, Jan. 9 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

CRIMINAL MINDS revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most experienced agent is David Rossi, founding member of the BAU, who is essential in helping the team solve new cases. Other members include Special Agent Emily Prentiss, the daughter of high-powered diplomats who returns to the team after being the head profiler at Interpol; Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid, a classically misunderstood genius whose social IQ is as low as his intellectual IQ is high; Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau, the team’s former unit liaison turned profiler, who juggles motherhood and marriage with the same skill as she solves cases; Penelope Garcia, the team’s indispensable computer wizard who helps research the cases with her unique charm; Dr. Tara Lewis, a forensic psychologist whose expertise is studying and interviewing serial killers after they’ve been captured to determine if they are able to stand trial; Luke Alvez, a former Army ranger and excellent tracker recruited to the BAU from the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force; and Special Agent Simmons who joins his colleagues in the BAU after consulting them when he was a member of the International Response Team. Simmons is an ex-Delta soldier with deft profiling skills and military special-ops expertise. As the team evolves together, the BAU continues its dedication to using their expertise to pinpoint predators’ motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.

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Ray Richards, Trial Lawyer, Achieves Highest Possible Rating From Martindale-Hubbell – PRNewswire

DETROIT, Dec. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — As further evidence of his ethical standards and outstanding legal abilities, Ray Richards has earned the distinction of the AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, its highest possible rating.

Martindale-Hubbell® has been providing ratings for lawyers for more than 130 years. The AV Preeminent® is the highest peer rating standard. The recognition demonstrates that a large number of attorneys in the industry who work alongside Ray, hold him in high regards, specifically in his professional knowledge and capabilities. In order to achieve the rating, an attorney’s peers must first review and recommend their fellow attorneys in the industry. By achieving this rating, Ray has placed himself in the top 10 percent of all attorneys.

This announcement comes as Ray Richards begins his new journey with the national law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis and Acho, PLC as part of its principal office in Livonia, Michigan. Serving as Of Counsel, Ray is primed and excited to expand his knowledge and experience in this role along with the firm’s team of tenacious lawyers that are experienced, phenomenally talented and highly respected. The focus of his practice remains complex criminal defense matters, white collar criminal defense, plaintiff side civil litigation and sports and entertainment law in both state and federal court systems.

"It’s an honor and privilege to be receiving the AV Preeminent® rating to be recognized among the best lawyers in the United States," said Ray Richards, Trial Lawyer.

About Ray Richards

Ray Richards is an attorney, legal analyst and talented speaker. Ray began practicing law based on his deep passion for helping people in the most dire times of their lives. Through civil and criminal litigation he has become a voice of reckoning and reason on behalf of others. Ray served as legal counsel for the main character portrayed by Clint Eastwood movie "The Mule." He also serves as legal counsel to professional athletes and their families in business and personal matters associated with professional sports organizations such as the NBA, NFL, Auto Racing, and Boxing. Ray is a member of several professional organizations such as the NTLA Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers and Top 100 Black Lawyers; the CJA Panel, the best of the best local lawyers who represent indigent federal criminal; and the Michigan State Bar Association. He is also a proud and active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Media Contact: Ray Richards,II ; Tx. 313.694.8400; Email rayrichardsesq@gmail.com

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Criminal Minds season 14 in 2019: Our hopes for Reid, Rossi, JJ, and more – CarterMatt

Criminal MindsCriminal Minds may not have too many episodes left for season 14, but there’s certainly enough time still to dive into some big stories. Ultimately, that’s what this article is all about — speculating about what should happen for many of our favorites!

Related Criminal Minds video! – Take a look below for some more thoughts from this season! Meanwhile, be sure to subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube for more updates and take a look at our Criminal Minds playlist now!

Before we dive too much deeper, rest assured that there are no actual spoilers ahead. This is just a good at some of what could be coming for a few of our favorite characters.

Spencer Reid – We’re starting with Reid largely because he’s the one who hasn’t been around! Rest assured that Matthew Gray Gubler will be back, though, and our hope is that he will get one or two personal stories before the end to make up for his absence.

Emily Prentiss – Is Mendoza meant to be the one for her — or at least the one for her at the moment? We’ve seen some of this relationship over the past couple of Emily spotlights, but it feels like we’re due at least one more before the finale wraps.

David Rossi – Let’s stick around the subject of Rossi relationships for a moment. Doesn’t it feel like we should get a wedding in the finale between him and Krystall? What better way to wrap up this season than seeing these two tie the knot while David also takes on a new UnSub?

JJ – We’ve already seen a case that was super-personal because of her past, so let’s mix things up here and give her a case that is super-important to her present. Maybe she finds herself in a situation where her job or a longtime friend is threatened. What does she do?

Matt Simmons – We’ve explored some of his family history on Beyond Borders, so why not do that again? We’d also love to see Daniel Henney have an opportunity to speak a little bit of Korean on the flagship show.

Luke Alvez – Are the events of “Luke” really in the rear-view mirror with him? We wonder this question mostly because “name” episodes of Criminal Minds are the ones that really tend to have a significant long-term impact.

Tara Lewis – We’d like to see her more consistently at the forefront of taking down UnSubs. Despite this being a great character, it did feel like Dr. Lewis faded into the background in season 14 more than we would’ve liked.

Penelope Garcia – Given how long she’s been a part of the series, we really do think that Garcia’s love-life deserves more of a spotlight. We know that there are only six episodes left, but what better time than the present to give that a spotlight?

Related News Be sure to see some more news on the next Criminal Minds episode!

What do you want to see over the remainder of Criminal Minds season 14? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: CBS.)

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Five Advantages of Becoming a Criminal Attorney – The National Law Review

Whether it’s a financial reward, a noble endeavor, the love of sheer excitement, below are just a few of advantages of becoming a criminal attorney.

1. A Noble Endeavor

“Every single day of my life I wake up thrilled that I have the honor of being a criminal defense lawyer.” This from attorney Don Murray in “Why Be a Criminal Defense Lawyer.” The job of a criminal defense lawyer is so very important in a civilized society that in the eyes of the founding fathers they recorded it into our very Bill of Rights in the Sixth Amendment – “and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Not too shabby.

Murray goes on to explain his second most favorite advantage of becoming a criminal attorney. Some of the nation’s greatest heroes were criminal defense attorneys, willing to stand up for people for whom nobody else would. He talks about past criminal defense attorneys such as Abraham Lincoln and John Adams.

Adams once defended a group of British soldiers who were accused of taking part in the “Boston Massacre.” As Murray so eloquently put it, Adams “believed that representing the soldiers in the murder trial would be highly unpopular, but he did it anyway. He believed that his future political career in America might be ruined by taking the job, but he did it anyway. He believed that his own personal safety might be in question if he took the job, but he did it anyway. John Adams demonstrated in his deeds commitment to his beliefs. It was an act of great Patriotism to defend those British soldiers, or at least so John Adams thought.” Adams won the case and in doing so helped to establish the United States as a nation that is committed to what we now consider to be basic human rights.

2. High Stakes Excitement

Many criminal attorneys love the sheer excitement in a winner-take-all, loser-loses-all situation. Another advantage of becoming a criminal attorney is because the high stakes venture gets the blood rushing. Evidently, one of the advantages of being a criminal lawyer is that it’s much more exciting to talk about a bank robbery than it is to discuss Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

3. A Darn Good Argument

good argument goes a long way to stimulating a criminal attorney’s mind. Especially when the argument must be well-reasoned, well-researched and well-organized. Most of the action in a lawyer’s work takes place outside of the courtroom and a criminal lawyer’s work is no exception. Where the well-prepared lawyer gets to wind it up and fire that dramatic pitch is in the courtroom, of course. But, it’s also in the office after a magnificent plea deal is agreed upon.

4. Defending the Constitution

In addition to the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment assures the world that the United States will brook no unreasonable searches or seizures. Again, it is the duty and honor of criminal attorneys to ensure that proper police work is conducted in the effort to solve crimes and protect the people.

Without the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, we as a nation are a pretty toothless lot when it comes to defending the freedoms of her people. Stephen Handy, a former lawyer for the district attorney and current criminal defense lawyer, writes about his time as a DA thus, “But it didn’t take long to see sloppy police work and cases sitting on my desk where I did not believe the person was guilty of any crime. I also learned how easily someone can be arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.”

5. Defending the Person

Many criminal defense attorneys get asked why they make their livings defending criminals and getting them off scot-free. Even with our mighty Constitution and Bill of Rights, all too often assumptions are made that if a person is accused of a crime, they must actually be guilty of that crime.

Imagine, if you will, you hear a loud banging on your door at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. It’s the FBI and they have your home surrounded. They burst in through all the doors and start yelling that you are surrounded.

This can be described as being a very bad, very awful day in your life. Not only do your neighbors hate you, but many of your coworkers, friends, and family doubt you now for being guilty of a crime possibly more heinous than murder.

You are completely innocent. The FBI made a mistake. Your best and brightest hope is the lone criminal defense attorney. Even the DA, another criminal lawyer, is mindful that all the legal rules have been followed to a T.

Conclusion

A criminal lawyer is a lone person who is willing to stand up for the accused. And the duty and honor of standing up for the accused are just one of the many advantages of becoming a criminal lawyer.

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Kevin Spacey faces criminal complaint in alleged sex assault at Nantucket bar – The Boston Globe

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Kevin Spacey faces criminal complaint in alleged sex assault at Nantucket bar
Globe Staff
The actor is accused of sexually assaulting the teenage son of former Boston WCVB-TV news anchor Heather Unruh at a Nantucket bar in 2016. He is due to be arraigned on Jan. 7.
By Matt Rocheleau and Jaclyn Reiss
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Kevin Spacey.



Actor Kevin Spacey is facing a felony charge in an alleged sexual assault of the teenage son of former Boston news anchor Heather Unruh at a Nantucket bar in July 2016, the latest legal entanglement for the two-time Academy Award winner over claims of sexual misconduct.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe saidMonday that Spacey, 59, was scheduled to be arraigned on a charge of indecent assault and battery at Nantucket District Court on Jan. 7, after a Dec. 20 public show-cause hearing where clerk magistrate Ryan Kearney issued a criminal complaint.

O’Keefe, who spoke by phone and read from a statement, declined to comment further.


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The actor was first accused of sexual misconduct near the start of the #MeToo movement, which exploded into American life in late 2017 and has provided a forum for women and some men across the country to share personal, painful stories of abuse and harassment.

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The movement has in some cases led to criminal charges and derailed the careers of scores of high-profile figures, from Hollywood executives and celebrities to prominent politicians, including movie producer Harvey Weinstein and former senator Al Franken.

Spacey is being investigated
after numerous sexual assault accusations, which began surfacing in the fall of 2017 and prompted his removal from Netflix’s “House of Cards,” the former popular political drama. His role in a Ridley Scott film was also cut.

The charge Spacey faces carries penalties of up to five years in prison or up to two and a half years in jail or house of correction and a requirement to register as a sex offender, according to court documents.

“I’m pleased that the case is moving forward in the judicial system,” Unruh, who had worked for WCVB-TV, said Monday.


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Shortly after the Globe published a story online about the criminal charges, Spacey broke his lengthy Twitter silence to post a bizarre video along with the caption, “Let Me Be Frank.”

In the video, Spacey appeared to assume the character of Frank Underwood, the dangerously ambitious politician-turned-president in “House of Cards” and used the character’s Southern accent.

“I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of. I shocked you with my honesty, but mostly I challenged you and made you think. And you trusted me. Even though you knew you shouldn’t,” he said.

It was unclear whether the timing of the post was a coincidence or whether anything Spacey said in the three-minute video was somehow related to the charge announced on Monday.

The case emerged during an emotional news conference in November 2017, when Unruh publicly accused Spacey of sexually assaulting her son.


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Unruh said that in July 2016 her then 18-year-old son was at The Club Car, where the actor was among the late-night crowd in the dimly lit restaurant. Her son was mesmerized by Spacey and told him he was old enough to drink, Unruh said previously.

Unruh said Spacey purchased alcohol for her son until he was drunk and then stuck his hand inside the teenager’s pants and grabbed his genitals. During the encounter, Unruh said, her son tried to shift his body away from Spacey but was “only momentarily successful.” The actor urged her son to accompany him to an after-hours party to drink more, she said.

Unruh said her son fled the restaurant when Spacey excused himself to use the bathroom and a woman urged the youth to run. He sprinted to his grandmother’s house and told his sister what happened, Unruh said. The siblings then called Unruh, who traveled to Nantucket in the morning, she said.

“The victim, my son, was a star-struck, straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator or that he was about to become his next victim,” Unruh said at the 2017 press conference accompanied by attorney Mitchell Garabedian and her daughter, Kyla. “This was a criminal act.”

Unruh said her son reported the incident to Nantucket police in the fall of 2017 and provided evidence to investigators.

The case was investigated by State Police troopers assigned to the detective unit at the district attorney’s office. They interviewed Unruh’s son and several others, according to court documents.

The documents describe how Unruh’s son told investigators that on the night of the alleged assault, Spacey bought the teenager four or five beers and then four or five glasses of whiskey and said at one point, “Let’s get drunk.”

Unruh’s son also told investigators that Spacey asked the teenager questions about his genitals and Spacey described his own, according to the documents.

The teenager texted someone while Spacey was allegedly groping him and sent that person a video of the alleged assault. It’s unclear if investigators were able to view that video since it was sent via a service in which messages, including videos, eventually disappear, by design.

But the person who received the message confirmed it to investigators, the documents show.

The documents also say that after Unruh’s son fled from the bar, Spacey texted the teenager, “I think we lost each other.”

Other people interviewed by investigators confirmed seeing Spacey and the teenager together at the bar that evening.

One person said they noticed the teenager at one point turn “pale, blank, a bit frightened.” Others said the teenager described to them what Spacey allegedly had done soon after the incident.

It’s unclear if anyone interviewed by investigators saw the alleged groping.

Unruh said in the fall of 2017 that her son asked Unruh to speak publicly about the encounter. He didn’t go to authorities sooner, she said, because of embarrassment and fear. Soon after the alleged attack, however, Unruh said she discussed it with Nantucket’s sheriff, who urged him to file a complaint.

During her news conference, Unruh also alleged Spacey had targeted another man during a visit to the island.

Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of survivors of clergy sexual abuse, said in an e-mail Monday: “The complainant has shown a tremendous amount of courage in coming forward. Let the facts be presented, the relevant law applied and a just and fair verdict rendered.”

He declined to comment further “because of the pending criminal matter.”

Court records list Spacey’s attorney in the Nantucket case as Boston lawyer Juliane Balliro. The actor has also been represented previously by Los Angeles attorney Bryan Freedman.

Neither attorney could be reached on Monday.

Spacey’s tweet on Monday was the first he posted to Twitter since Oct. 30, 2017, in which he came out as a gay man in response to being accused of molestation by actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was a teenager.

Spacey-as-Underwood ended his video by pointing out that “House of Cards” fans never actually saw the death of his murderous character, which proved a point of intrigue in the sixth and final season.

He then slipped on the heavy class ring that his character wore on the show.

“Conclusions can be so deceiving. Miss me?”

Todd Wallack, John R. Ellement, Laura Crimaldi, and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


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Lawyer Tallies Up All Of MacCauley Culkin's Crimes In ‘Home Alone 2,’ Figures Out His Jail Sentence – The Daily Wire

You gotta love the internet.

A lawyer in England who specializes in criminal law recently watched “Home Alone 2” and catalogued all the criminal activity in the Christmas classic — live tweeting the whole thing.

The anonymous lawyer, known as The Secret Barrister, declares that Kevin, played by MacCauley Culkin, commits numerous crimes, as do his parents and others in the movie.

The lawyer lays the ground rules, saying he or she will consider “how the adventures of Kevin McAllister might have been different had he, his family and his adversaries been subject to the jurisdiction of the law of England and Wales.” He follows with a brief synopsis of the plot: “In Home Alone, Kevin’s family flew to Paris for Christmas and forgot him. Oops.”

Then the barrister gets rolling.

“And we’re off! Uncle Frank is in the shower! Kevin’s recording him! It’s voyeurism! Strike one! Frank is fully entitled to be livid,” the lawyer wrote on Twitter.

“Its the choir scene. Buzz is humiliating Kevin and all the parents are lapping it up. The sickos. Kevin responds with a s39 battery on his big brother. Strike 2. Pianist is caught in the crossfire. Issue over causation, but let’s add a s47 ABH to the indictment,” the barrister wrote.

Kevin’s parents are also dinged.

The bandits, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, also would’ve spent some time in the clink.

The barrister veers into legalese at some points.

“‘Operation Ho Ho Ho’, while undeniably mechanically and architecturally impressive, would be admissible as a confession document in a court of law. It shows a degree of premeditation that goes some way beyond self-defence or defence of property. It’s bloodthirsty vigilantism,” the lawyer writes.

At the end of the movie, the barrister tallies up the crimes and sentences.

And poor little forgotten Kevin would go into the stripey hole for up to four years!

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